Medicine And The Media

Deafness in Hollywood

BMJ 1996; 313 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.313.7058.695 (Published 14 September 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;313:695
  1. Robert A Crouch

    Hailed as a “cure” for deafness in the media, cochlear implants are touted by otologists as a means of helping people disabled by deafness. Members of the deaf community, invoking the Nazi analogy, see cochlear implantation as the latest weapon in the cultural genocide of deaf people. A pointed dilemma faces the hearing parents of a deaf child: should they attempt to cultivate the minimal oral and auditory skills of their child with the help of technology, or should they eschew implantation and immerse their child in an environment that stresses the acquisition of sign language? Surprisingly, Mr Holland's Opus offers a commentary on this problem.

    In typical Hollywood style, Mr Holland's Opus recounts the life of Mr Holland (Richard Dreyfuss), a struggling composer and high school music teacher who changes the lives of his students. The film becomes intriguing when Holland and his wife (Glenne Headly) discover that their newborn …

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